The statistics tell us that about 12% of couples have a difficult time getting pregnant as the result of a bona fide infertility factor. That doesn’t mean the other 88% get pregnant lickety-split.
There are many potential reasons it’s taking longer than planned for you to conceive – many of which connect to factors that are very much in your immediate control.
Besides Infertility: Reasons You Are Struggling to Conceive
Here are some of the main reasons you may be having a difficult time conceiving in the timeframe you originally planned for.
You just got off the pill (or other hormonal birth control options)
While it’s true that women can conceive immediately after going off their hormonal birth control of choice, it’s not the norm. For example, you can have a couple of periods after stopping your birth control pill without actually ovulating, injectable birth control options can last longer in some women’s systems than others, and so on.
It takes an average of four to five months on the minimum end, and up to a year on other end of the spectrum, for most couples – including those who just went off the pill.
You’re not timing intercourse correctly with ovulation
The female egg only lives about 12- to 24-hours in the female reproductive tract before degenerating and being absorbed back into the body. Healthy male sperm can live 72-hours or longer. If you’re waiting to sync intercourse with ovulation, you could already be too late.
Read, Timing Intercourse to Get Pregnant for more specific advice on how to narrow your ovulation window down and time intercourse beforehand to ensure there are plenty of sperm waiting for that fertile egg.
You’re over or underweight
There is a direct correlation between fertility and healthy body weight. The ideal body mass index (BMI) for “health fertility” is between 20 and 25. Women with a BMI below that are considered under-weight (yes- there is such a thing; typically the result of extreme athletes/workouts and/or eating disorders), and women with BMIs higher than that are considered overweight. Fertility rates decline on either end of that spectrum so weight management is important to your fertility health.
Note: Women aren’t the only ones who need to prioritize weight management as obese men also have higher rates of infertility factors.
Eat well and consider prioritizing an anti-inflammatory diet
There are multiple reasons to prioritize a healthy diet while trying to conceive. Weight management is one of them, but so is overall health. Many of the conditions that contribute to infertility – such as endometriosis or PCOS – involve chronic inflammation. Thus, a diet like the anti-inflammatory diet helps minimize or eliminate inflammation, improving latent health conditions and increasing fertility health.
Quit what you know you need to quit
No surprise here but if you aren’t getting pregnant but you’re still indulging in guilty-pleasures you know you shouldn’t – it’s time to quit. That includes:
- Recreational drug use (including pot)
- Excess caffeine drinking
- Drinking alcohol at all (if you’re female) and over-indulgent drinking (if you’re male)
Read, Get Your Body Healthy For Baby, for more lifestyle tips on cultivating a conception-friendly body.
Is it taking longer than you thought to get pregnant without any obvious reasons? Schedule a consultation with the Reproductive Resource team, Kansas City’s leading fertility specialists.